Nativity of the Lord Mass at Midnight
Readings: Is 9:1-6 Tt 2:11-14 Lk 2:1-14
Someone is knocking at the door. More than two thousand years ago, while silence covered the little town of Bethlehem, something extraordinary happened. God came knocking at the door of humanity; God came knocking at the door of Mary and Joseph to let Jesus be born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus was about to be born, yet Mary and Joseph could find no room in the inn. I would like to tell two stories that are relevant to the Nativity of Our Lord.
There is a story told by Matthew Kelly of a Catholic priest who had the custom of visiting his parishioners on Saturday afternoon. He came to one home and knocked on the door. No one answered, but he could hear the radio playing and even some footsteps, so he knew someone had to be inside. He knocked louder. No one came. Finally, he pounded on the door, but got no response. So he took out a business card, wrote a Bible verse on it and stuck it in the door. Ten minutes later the lady - who had been in the house all the time - opened the door. When she did, the card fell out. She saw the priest's name and the Bible verse: Revelation 3:20. Curious, she got out her Bible and read the verse. It said: "Behold, I am standing at the door, knocking...if anyone opens the door, I will come in and we will have a meal together." Well, on Sunday morning the priest noticed his business card was in the collection basket. When he picked it up, he saw that his verse was crossed out, and replaced by Genesis 3:10. The priest was curious so he got out his Bible. The verse said, "Behold, I saw you walking in the garden...but I was afraid and I hid myself." At Christmas, God knocks on our doors, and often we simply ignore him. We are too busy celebrating or having a good time!
The second story is about a little boy called Wallace in the Midwest, who was playing the innkeeper in the Christmas Nativity Play. But he hated his role and told his teacher that he preferred to be one of the shepherds. Since he was bigger and looked tough, the teacher persuaded him to keep the role of the innkeeper. When the actual play started, all went well until Mary and Jospeh arrived at the inn. Mary and Joseph asked for a room, and Wallace replied, “seek elsewhere, this inn is full.” When Mary and Joseph started walking away, the innkeeper stood watching them with tears in his eyes, and suddenly out of line with the play, he shouted to Joseph, “bring Mary back.” The teacher did not know where this line was leading to, but to the surprise of all, the innkeeper said, you can have my room.” Some in the Church felt that the innkeeper had ruined the play. Others felt it was the best Christmas Nativity play ever seen. (Story told by Richard Innes).
The message we take home this Christmas is threefold. 1) Christmas is about opening the door for Christ who knocks. Open the door, Christ is knocking. 2) Like the little boy in the story, Christmas is about letting Jesus take our room, our hearts, our lives. 3) When we open the door of our hearts to Christ and let him take our room, he uses us as instruments of transforming this world. That is the source of Christmas joy and happiness. May this Christmas bring us great joy, peace and happiness during the coming weeks and throughout the New Year. Merry Christmas!
©2013 John S. Mbinda